Michel Mohr, Ph.D.


Curriculum Vitae
Personal Website

Office: Sakamaki A-315
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Background and Research Interests
I landed at UH Mānoa in 2007, after a year on the East Coast and almost twenty years in Japan. My interests have always revolved around Asian religious traditions. Recently, I have become increasingly drawn toward ethical issues, a developing interest that manifested in the organization of the 2014 Numata Conference on Violence, Nonviolence, and Japanese Religions. Some of the papers presented at this conference were published in the open access journal Religions (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/religions). They have been regrouped in a Special Issue titled “Engaging Violence: Case Studies from the Japanese Religious Traditions,” which can be found here: http://www.mdpi.com/journal/religions/special_issues/EVJP. The scope of my research is also expanding in the direction of Chinese Buddhism, through field research conducted in Taiwan in 2015. My latest book focuses on the issue of universality, a “hot topic” that I will keep investigating during this lifetime.



Buddhism, Unitarianism, and the Meiji Competition for Universality. Harvard East Asian Monographs 351. Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 2014.

This book explores a neglected but crucial page of Japanese and American religious and intellectual history. This book focuses on debates sparked by the encounter between Unitarianism and Buddhism in Japan between 1887 and 1922. Its last chapter articulates philosophical ideas related to universality and the importance of reopening the debate that was aborted in the early twentieth century.

Traité sur l’Inépuisable Lampe du Zen: Tōrei (1721–1792) et sa vision de l’éveil (Treatise on the Inexhaustible Lamp of Zen: Tōrei and his Vision of Awakening), 2 vols. Mélanges chinois et bouddhiques vol. XXVIII. Brussels (Bruxelles) 1997: Institut Belge des Hautes Études Chinoises, in French.

The published version of my Ph.D. dissertation, the first complete translation of a Zen meditation treatise, which highlights the gap between the western interpretations of Zen and the way a major representative of the Rinzai tradition conceived its practice. A revised translation of the same text into English is under way.

Recent Articles and Book Chapters

Courses Regularly Offered

For complete course descriptions see UH Mānoa Course Catalog.